Kristian: 3 things that worry me about the 2-0 Saints
Sure, the Saints are 2 and 0 on the season, with heart-stopping wins in the first two weeks, but are the Saints living on borrowed time?
If you are 2 and 0 in the NFL, that’s reality.
The teams that are 0 and 2 are probably saying, “Just a couple of plays and we could be 2 and 0.” Bill Parcells used to say “You are what your record says you are in the NFL.” That’s true, but the Saints might be a 2 and 0 team with the most question marks. Where is the running game? Is the pass protection good enough? What is wrong with the Saints offense in the red zone? Those are my top three questions surrounding the 2013 Saints.
New Orleans is averaging 3.1 yards per carry as a team running the football. Mark Ingram is averaging 1.8 yards per carry on 17 carries this season. Pierre Thomas has been the most productive running back on the ground with a 5.1 yard per carry average on 14 carries. The Saints have to get their running game cranked up if they’re to continue winning ball games. Drew Brees will benefit the most from the emergence of a running game. Right now Brees has 3 TD’s and 3 INT’s, completing 64% of his passes through two games. However, Brees hasn’t been able to connect on the deep ball with the regular success we’ve seen in the past, partly because of the inability to run the football. Furthermore, Brees has been sacked 6 times in the first two games.
I never thought I would write this stat: The Saints are 1 for 7 in the Red Zone this season, a 14% efficiency. Last season they were operating at a 64% clip in the red zone. The 1-for-7 stat in the red zone is the lowest in the NFL. I expect that to be a focal point this week in practice as the Saints get ready to take on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday at home. The Saints have to fix the running game woes, protect Drew Brees, and cash in on six points instead of three points if they have any hopes of sustained post-season run in January. The good news is we’re in week 2, and there is a lot of time to improve. And, we’ll need improvement considering the next opponent: The Cardinals are third in the league against the run, giving up just 58 yards a game on the ground.
No suspension for Goldson: Tampa safety Dashon Goldson will be able to play this weekend, after the NFL reduced his penalty for the illegal hit on Sproles from a suspension to a $100,000 fine. I just think ultimately NFL feels like maybe they shouldn't be taking impact players off the field. I know he's got a track record for this sort of thing, but I think a fine is appropriate. It's also very likely he's been told by league officials he will face one or more games on the bench if it happens again.